Understanding ‘trusted intermediaries’ in order to broaden participation

Understanding ‘trusted intermediaries’ in order to broaden participation

Author: Matthew Hickman – Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom

Wellcome is keen that people of all backgrounds should be able to engage with science on their own terms. In recent years, we have focused on working with organisations and individuals who have established relationships with the audiences that we would like to reach; in particular, children and young people affected by socioeconomic disadvantage. This seems to be an effective way of reaching more diverse audiences, as compared with simply asking or funding established science communicators to do ‘more’/extend their reach.

This presentation will share findings from two pieces of research we recently commissioned:

  1. How we need to frame ‘science’ to youth workers across the UK so that they include it in their activities with children and young people, taking into account youth workers’ circumstances and motivations.
  2. The impact on children and young people affected by disadvantage when we train youth workers on how to deliver science engagement activities.

In each instance, the clear message is that ‘context matters’. Youth workers’ activities are driven by the different and complex needs of the children and young people that they work with. While for the young people themselves, the relationship between how the science is presented and their own ‘science background’ is central to understanding their response to the topic.

Much of this work is underpinned by Archer’s work around science capital. In this framing, we are motivated by the opportunity that Wellcome has to influence the ‘field’ that encompasses children and young people affected by disadvantage.’

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Applying science communication research to practice